Daily examination

Jul 12, 2012

by Fr. Roy Cimagala

Let’s hope that the daily practice of examination of conscience becomes normal and widespread in us. It’s a real necessity, just like the daily accounting that business firms do if they are serious with their businesses. And frankly, can there be any more decisive human endeavor than caring for our soul, our principle of life?

The daily practice of examination of conscience means a lot of things. For one, it means that we understand that our life is not just a natural, material, individual or social affair. Or simply our life.

It would show that we know our life is a life with God and with others, pursued and developed in the spiritual and moral spheres more than anything else. We need to do some accounting of it not only for our own interest, but also and more importantly for the sake of God and of the others.

It would show that we understand that our human acts—those that we do knowingly and freely and thus we are responsible for them—either lead us to our proper end or not. Thus, we understand that our human acts have a moral dimension and therefore need to be assessed by us.

Sad to say, many of us still are ignorant of this very basic truth, or if not, are hardly doing anything to be consistent to it. We largely take our spiritual and moral life for granted, an anomaly that has to be tackled more seriously.

We prefer in the stay in the level of the material and social, in the realm of the externals and appearances. In the end, it’s like we are contented with simply leading a clever but animal life only, where we ignore the considerations of our spirituality and morality.

The daily practice of examination of conscience also means that our spiritual and moral life is in a state of constant struggle, in a continuing warfare, since we meet the forces of good and evil in every step of our daily affairs.

The situations and predicaments can be big or small, extraordinary or common, but we always find ourselves in situations of making choices and decisions. We have to continually deal with our weaknesses and temptations, not to mention sins, on the one hand, and the need to reach our proper and ultimate end, God, on the other.

In the Bible, we are told that even the just man falls seven times in a day. And I suppose we can hardly consider ourselves as just men! We still have a long way to go to get near that ideal.

The daily practice of examination of conscience can mean that we have a keen and effective desire to take care of our conscience. Conscience is the inner, most intimate link we personally have with God. It’s there where we meet God, hear his voice and decide to follow or disobey him.

If we know that, would we not do everything to keep our conscience in the best condition, making it ever sensitive to God’s promptings and docile to carry out his will?

We just have to make sure that our practice of examination of conscience is done always in the presence of God, and should not merely be our own effort at introspection. The distinction is crucial, because doing it right gives us tremendous benefits, while doing it wrong can generate more harm in us.

Many of us may still be afraid to face God in our conscience. Some say, such meeting would just complicate our life. Others claim that such encounter is actually hard if not impossible.

There can be many reasons, but they really have no basis. Why should we be afraid when God is our Creator, our Father whose only desire is to love us? He is slow to anger and rich in mercy.

He for sure does not want to make our life complicated, but rather to simplify it. We are the ones who complicate our life. God is the original and ultimate simplicity, and we are supposed to reflect that simplicity in our life.

If there are difficulties involved in obeying God, that’s because we need to be purified, and God would always be around to help us. That is, if we care to go to him, and not just keep to ourselves doing things simply on our own.

In the gospel, the sick, paralytic, blind, and of course the unclean and sinners went to Jesus and all of them were cured and forgiven. The examination of conscience is like to going to Jesus for a cure and forgiveness.

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